TOKYO (APP) – Tokyo shares closed lower Monday as a stronger yen hit exporters while China-linked shares were dented by figures that pointed to a marked slowdown in the world’s number two economy.
Chinese growth came in at 6.9 percent in July-September, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday, the worst since early 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis, although still better than the 6.8 percent tipped by analysts in an AFP survey.
As the world’s biggest trader in goods and a giant market in itself, China is a key driver of the global economy, and stock exchanges around the world were battered in July-September by concerns over its future.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell 0.88 percent, or 160.57 points, to 18,131.23, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares lost 0.74 percent, or 11.09 points, to 1,494.75.
“Chinese growth numbers are coming down — that trend will not stop,” Hartmut Issel of UBS AG’s wealth management unit, told Bloomberg News. In the afternoon, Japan’s finance ministry confirmed that a price had been set for Japan Post’s initial public offering next month, with the government on track to raise about 743 billion yen ($6.2 billion) from the sales of shares in the vast company’s banking and insurance units, according to a calculation by Bloomberg.
On currency markets, the dollar slipped to 119.30 yen from 119.49 yen Friday in New York. It sank as low as 119.16 yen at one point Monday.
The yen’s renewed strengthen hit automakers, which are susceptible to a stronger currency as it makes them less competitive overseas and shrinks the value of repatriated profits.
Toyota fell 0.59 percent to 7,356 yen, Nissan dropped 1.15 percent to 1,196 yen and Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries lost 1.05 percent to 4,493 yen.
Mazda tumbled 2.75 percent to 2,256 yen after the company said last week it was recalling nearly one million vehicles to fix potentially defective ignition switches.
Industrial robot maker Fanuc, a market heavyweight with strong ties to China, lost 2.86 percent to 19,160 yen.
But Tokyo Electric Power jumped 3.44 percent to 871 yen after the leading Nikkei business daily said the embattled operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima plant would start selling bonds next year as its financial situation improves.